The advent of modern project management techniques almost 60 years ago continues to revolutionize the way that businesses achieve goals. Organizational project management (OPM) has created a way to effectively communicate across departments and areas of expertise while breaking down larger goals into individual projects and streamlining inefficient processes. Focusing on small projects allows teams to develop a product or work toward goals while eliminating excess waste and providing the flexibility necessary to adjust to either business or consumer demands.
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Assessing the Proper Methodology
Choosing a project management methodology is not a light task. With many options to choose from, a company or project manager must approach the selection process carefully. Regardless of what style is ultimately chosen, all OPM methods have a similar four- or five-stage process.
This stage determines the scope of the project by assessing the business environment and incorporating necessary controls. If this stage shows significant flaws, then it is unlikely that the resulting processes will achieve their desired goals.
Planning and Design
In the P&D phase, details such as costs, resources and time required are determined with the help of tools such as a Gantt chart. Proper and detailed planning can often increase the chance of success as the project continues.
Implementation of the project processes can begin after all details have been determined to a proper scale. This section is most focused on coordinating both talent and resources to achieve the outputs as necessary.
Monitoring and Controlling
As the project is underway, ensuring that each process is functioning optimally is essential. One of the key benefits of using OPM is that weaknesses and problems can be determined earlier, allowing for inefficiencies to be corrected.
To avoid the unnecessary consumption of resources, a project must be closed properly. This step involves reallocating project teams and receiving final approval from the customer.
Choosing the Right Method
When properly employed, project management methodology can provide the blueprint for completing a goal, regardless of the type or size of the project. However, because OPM can apply to anything from building and construction to software development, an organization must take many factors into account to help determine the best methodology for its project. These factors include organizational goals, key business drivers, stakeholders, complexity and estimated project costs.
Though there are more than 20 styles of project management, some are used much more often than others. As business environments change, so too can the most effective styles of OPM. The following are some of the most often employed by today’s leading companies.
Most often used in software development, agile project management assumes that the requirements and solutions deemed necessary at the beginning of the planning and development phase may change and that the development teams must be able to collaborate and self-organize across departments to respond to the changes and create new solutions.
This is a subset of agile project management and one of the most commonly used frameworks for solving complex problems. It’s broken down into 24-hour and 30-day sections, called “sprints.” At the beginning, the team gathers in a “scrum” (a word derived from the rugby pitch where all the players on the field come together to gain control of the ball) and takes a piece from the product backlog to complete. The backlog is a prioritized to-do list created by the product owner. The team determines what needs to be done and what roles each member will fulfill. Every 24 hours, the team meets in a daily scrum to assess its progress and any areas of weakness. After the 30-day sprint is complete, the product should be in the deliverable stage. The team gathers to assess the project and then selects the next piece of backlog to work on.
The main principle of lean project management is reducing waste in an already established process. More often applied to manufacturing and production than product development, it focuses on key process improvement points, such as reducing bottlenecks and standardizing means of production. Although it has a different application than the agile methodology, the two share common elements such as pipelining and valuing a strong facilitator.
This is a set of tools for process improvement. Originally developed for General Electric, it’s now utilized across the industrial sectors. Effective in both the manufacturing and the business process, Six Sigma improves output quality by seeking and removing the sources of defects and variability. By analyzing empirical data, it creates a hierarchy within an organization of improvement experts who continually seek out ways to reduce inefficiency.
This method is closely related to both the agile and lean methodologies and can often be combined effectively with the scrum methodology. Kanban is best employed with knowledge workers and most commonly for just-in-time delivery products. Because it’s important to not overload the employees, this methodology visualizes the entire process so team members can view and understand where they are in the process. Kanban works with existing processes and implements micro changes. While sweeping changes may produce results faster, this method follows the belief that the success rate of incremental changes is greater than quickly introduced, vast changes.
Software Can Make the Difference
There is no right or wrong project management methodology, but there are a lot to choose from. A business must carefully assess the desired outcomes, current inputs and resources that are available. Whether implementing a new OPM program or just streamlining an existing one, project management software such as Hello Focus can assist any organization seeking to increase profits by managing recurring tasks, providing clear communication channels and visible roadmaps, and reducing meeting times.
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